One of the hardest skill to learn as an aspiring commercial or editorial photographer is how to properly negotiate for a commercial job. has well-explained and thorough example by Producer Jess Dudley of Wonderful Machine on how to price and negotiate a job for a public service announcement job.


A lot of us when we’re starting out would start quoting a day rate based on what we think our current skill level is worth, but the more important component on any images that are going to be published is licensing. According to (Picture Licensing Universal System), licensing is “a legal agreement granting permission to exercise a specified right or rights to a work, often encompassed in an invoice, or the act of granting same,” which essentially grants the right for client to use your images in the specified manner for a certain period of time defined by the agreement.

This is important because in negotiating, how long the publishing is going to last and how wide the reach (ie. local vs. national campaign) will determine how much you want to charge for licensing.


In this case, the images will be used for a Public Service Announcement throughout Southwestern United States for 3 years.

After asking the right questions, negotiating on what is needed and the terms of the license, this is what Wonderful Machine came up with on behalf of the photographer:


Wonderful Machine Quote

An important lesson that I got from reading this article is to ask a lot of questions up front rather than start quoting your “day rate” or what you think you’re worth.  If I would just quote what I am worth without knowing the details, I think I would have asked for a  lower rate than what is eventually negotiated in the article and would have left a lot of money on the table.  Also, licensing is powerful and should not be skimped or ignored!


Click on this link to learn how Jess Dudley of Wonderful Machine negotiated this price.


That’s about it folks!

Stay Creative!